Pease Parkside apartment building without heat, gas for over a month, leaves residents frustrated

Joelle DiPaolo, News Reporter

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Feb. 4, 2022 flipbook.

Some residents at the Pease Parkside apartment complex in West Campus have been without gas, heat and hot water for over a month due to failed utility inspections, causing frustration among residents who said management has done little to compensate them.

Texas Gas Service, which provides gas for the apartment complex, investigated an odor report on Dec. 20 that caused the gas to get turned off at one of the four buildings, said Bailey McBride, public relations director for Texas Gas Service. John O’Neill, president and broker of the Pease Parkside apartment complex, said they are working on fixing the issue, but it’s taking longer than expected after they discovered more issues and decided to replace the whole system.

Resident Connor James Gebhart said he has primarily been staying at a friend’s house because of the lack of heat and gas. He said he is disappointed about management’s lack of urgency.

“They just gave us these burners so we can finally cook food, but that was like a week ago,” Gebhart said. “It’s been like three weeks without them even trying to find a solution for us. It’s quite frustrating.”

After initial repairs and subsequent inspections, O’Neill said plumbers discovered all nine of the outdoor gas lines had leaks, and that it would be easier to replace the system than fix it.

O’Neill said management gave residents space heaters, an electric portable stove burner, a gym membership for showers and a $400 credit to help with the effects of the lost utilities.

Fenil Patel, a resident and graduate student, said the monetary compensation provided by management was not nearly enough.

“(Originally) they merely gave us $100 compensation in the next rent, which is insultingly low,” Patel said. “They’ve increased their offer from $100 to $400. Which, if you look at a month’s rent, is just 35% of it. Whereas we have suffered for more than one and a half months.”

Rutvij Dave, Patel’s roommate, said as an international student in a one-year program, he has had difficulties finding alternative places to stay because he does not know a lot of people in Austin. And since he does not have a car, it is difficult for him to go to the gym to shower.

“We chose this place because it was close to UT so we could run our errands with the University,” graduate student Dave said. “But … because we have so much on our plate, we’re not even able to get ready to go to the meetings.”

Because of the winter storm this week, O’Neill said it gave residents the option to be put in a hotel for a week or receive another $400 credit.

O’Neill said the materials for the new pipes will arrive this weekend and will take seven days to install. After the installation, the building will have to undergo a final inspection, but management said the gas should be restored in about a week.

“I just hope that it gets ready soon so we can at least take showers,” Dave said